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My Garden Diary

July and August 2014

Copyright © 2014 by David E. Ross

Many years ago, when I first started my Web site, I created an online diary of my gardening activities and observations. However, with work and the commute from Hell, I was often so tired I had to choose between maintaining my garden and maintaining my diary. Sometimes, I did neither. In 1998, I stopped my diary and removed the pages from my Web site.

Now I am retired. I am well-rested and have plenty of time to both garden and maintain a diary. This diary is primarily for my own benefit, so that I can look back upon what I did and when. But I thought others might also be interested, so here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?


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Entries are in reverse order (latest at the top). Daily, I might stoop to pull a weed or use a hose to water some potted plants; however, I don't consider those significant gardening activities. Thus, you will not see daily entries. Also, I might accumulate a few entries before updating this page on the Web.

When plants have well-known common names, their scientific names are given only the first time they appear on this page (entry closest to the bottom). There, the common name is in bold or appears as a link to another Web page.

Dates refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given. However, they may refer to entries on prior pages.

This diary has been visited times since I started it.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
17 July

Scattered clouds, mostly sunny (sometimes hazy), and warm

Temp: 56-81
Humidity: 46%
Wind: 0-10

Rain —
This season: 5.87
Days since last: 81

Fed the dwarf citrus — including the tangelo, to which I gave an acid treatment just three days ago — with commercial citrus food and a trace of zinc sulfate. I also fed the same to the gardenia (G. jasminoides 'Veitchii'), which is in full bloom.

While feeding the dwarf kumquat (Fortunella margarita 'Nagami'), I discovered that its drip irrigation emitter had been pulled out of its large flower pot and that the tubing had been badly chewed. I suspect squirrels, which have also been gnawing at the sprinkler heads for my shrubs in front and back. Fortunately, there was enough slack in the tubing that I was able to cut away the damaged section and splice the two remaining parts together.

Planted the rooted artemisia 'Powis Castle' (A. arborescens × absinthium) cuttings (1 Jun) in the two places in the back lawn where former artemisia died.

14 July

Cloudy, occasional hazy sun, and hot

Temp: 64-93
Humidity: 62%
Wind: 0-12

Rain —
This season: 5.87
Days since last: 78

While nighttime fog often raises the relative humidity to 100%, a noon reading of 62% is very humid for this area. The local forecast indicated a 20% probability of a thunderstorm. While tending my garden, I even felt a few rain drops.

Swept the driveway and public sidewalk in front. Both had significant leaves, twigs, and other "fallout" from the adjacent trees. I suspect much of the mess was caused by birds and squirrels searching in the shrub beds and pink clover lawn (Persicaria capitata) for food.

The tangelo (Citrus reticulata × paradisi) in back shows significant chlorosis. It gets the same acidic fertilizer as the other three dwarf citrus, none of which have this problem. However, the tangelo is in a raised bed with its roots going down into the native soil of my garden while the other citrus are in large flower pots with a special potting mix that has the excellent drainage require by all citrus. Today, I gave the tangelo a generous amount of gypsum, which should improve the drainage, along with soil sulfur and sulfates of iron, magnesium, and zinc. Later in the week, I plan to feed all the citrus with a commercial citrus food.

10 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 57-88
Humidity: 45%
Wind: 3-12

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more …

Shakespeare

Or onto My Hill again. This time, spraying Roundup on those weeds not killed when they were whacked (15 Jun). I also sprayed weeds growing in the decomposed granite paths and — where there is no ground cover or dense planting — in the east bed.

Rain —
This season: 5.87
Days since last: 74

4 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 64-97
Humidity: 33%
Wind: 2-15

Climbed My Hill again, this time to scatter some fertilizer (27-0-6 lawn food) to rejuvenate the African daisy (Osteospermum fruticosum) and English ivy (Hedera helix) that were affected when I had the weeds whacked (15 Jun). I waited until today because I plan to run the sprinklers on My Hill tomorrow. climbing My Hill with a heavy bucket of fertlizer was a challenge. It seemed that for every two steps I took upwards resulted in my sliding one step back down.

Rain —
This season: 5.87
Days since last: 68

2 July

Clear, sunny, and hot

Temp: 57-91
Humidity: 40%
Wind: 0-13

Climbed My Hill to tie up some of the shoots on the grape vines and to cut back others. Since I thought the grapes were beginning to ripen, I hung some old compact discs from the 'Flame' and 'Perlette' vines to keep the birds away. However, I discovered that the birds or other creatures had already consumed all of the 'Perlette' grapes except for one small bunch, which I picked. For some reason, the 'Black Monukka' vine has not yet borne fruit even though it started more vigorously as a new plant than the 'Perlette', which had a nice crop last year.

Rain —
This season: 5.87
Days since last: 66

Weather data are from the Cheeseboro (CHE) weather station, about 2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the previous night.

The relative humidity is at noon. (In my garden, it is likely higher than reported, a result of regular irrigation.)

Wind speeds (mph) are average (not peak) low and high, midnight to midnight (subject to later correction for diary entries posted before the end of the day). I also indicate peak wind gusts parenthetically when they are significantly high.

Rain is in inches. Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year. Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no rain fell in that period, Days since last is reported.

Characterization of the weather (e.g., Clear, sunny, and warm) is purely subjective; for example, "warm" might occur with higher temperatures than "hot" if the former occurs with lower humidity and more breezes than the latter. Also, a day that would normally be characterized as "mild" might instead be "warm" if the immediately previous days were quite cold. Finally, such characterization reflects when I was actually outside and gardening and ignores changes that occur while I am inside.

The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:

Climate: California Mediterranean
Sunset Zone: 21 -- interior Santa Monica Mountains with some ocean influence (USDA 10a, very close to Sunset Zone 19)
See also The Climate.
May-June 2014
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